Challenge Spotlight – A Year of Blessings and Template #1

Hi fellow scrappers.  Hope your week is starting off well.

Today we’re focusing on the A Year Of Blessings Challenge and the first Template Challenge.

First up is the A Year of Blessings Challenge. This month it is hosted by Luv Ewe Designs. Her challenge to us was to scrap flowers. That is a perfect subject for me because my husband loves to photograph flowers. While we were vacationing in Lake Lure, NC in Jnue of 2018, we got to experience their Flowering Bridge. It was a super experience. Here is my take on the challenge and a few others I’ve chosen from the gallery.

From Grace:

From Dannisa:

From ktmoonblue:

Aren’t these beautiful?

Next is one of my favorite challenges each month. The Template Challenge. There are two of these each month. This month the first challenge is hosted by Laurie’s Scraps. Look at this gorgeous template that she has provided for us to use.

I love working with templates so these fall right into my wheelhouse. I had a blast pulling out some older pictures of my kids. They are now much older than this.

From KatherineWoodin:

From pjm117:

From poki04:

So much fun playing with these.

Remember, any 10 challenges completed will get you this full kit!

I’ll have an other challenge spotlight on Wednesday!

Challenge Spotlight – Layout Bingo and Project 365/52

Hey there scrappers. We’re starting a new feature here on the blog. Several times during the week, I will be shining the spotlight on a challenge (or two) that you can do to earn a full kit reward from GingerScraps. Check out the post from April 4, or the Cookie Jar thread in the forum for all the fun information about how the challenges work here at GingerScraps.

Today I’m focusing on two the the multi-layout challenges. Most posts will focus on only one challenge.

First up is Layout Bingo with MagsGraphics. I will admit, I had not had a chance to look at this one much until I started. This looks like so much fun. I’m going to give the highlights in this post. To see the full instructions and to get the blank Bingo card for this month, head over to the post in the Gingerscraps forum.

Each month, MagsGraphics will provide a Bingo cards with different items to complete. Things like: 1 layout with a border. 1 layout with a GS Free-With-Purchase Kit, 1 layout about spring break, etc. The idea, of course, is to get Bingo. Specific instructions on how to full out the card are in the forum. The good news, is that only one of the layouts has to be unique for this challenge (not used in other GS challenges). The other spots can be other challenges for this month (or within the last three months).

Here are a couple of finished bingo cards from March. As you can see, some choose to fill out only the line that makes BINGO and others fill out any of the squares that the task is complete.

From gmae:

From gadawg83:

Doesn’t this look like fun? I’m going to try to work on getting BINGO this month. I’ll show my card in a wrap-up post at the end of the month.

Here is a glimpse at April’s card. Remember to head over the forum for the complete rules.

Next, let’s look at the 365/52 Challenge. This one is hosted by Heather Z Scraps. This challenge is fairly straightforward. The only real rule is that the pictures used must be from the current week you are working on. If you take a lot of pictures and document everything, this may be the challenge for you. The good news? Each week counts as one challenge point. If you do layouts for 3 weeks of the month, that’s 3 of your 10 layouts done.

There are so many different ways you can choose to do these. Here are a few below, but browse the gallery and see what others are doing. These is also an FAQ thread on the forum to help if you have questions.

From CindyB:

From pinklily:

From pizazz:

And now for a sneak peek at the kit you will get for completing your challenges:

Leave a comment and let me know if you are going to try either of these challenges.  Happy Scrapping!

 

April 2020 Challenges

Hey there scrappers. Did you know that GingerScraps has 28 challenges you can complete each month? Yep – 28.  I know. I was blown away when I actually counted them. Did you know that if you complete any 10 of these, you get a free FULL SIZED KIT designed especially for this purpose (see the bottom of this post)? That’s just crazy, right?

In order to get your rewards, you must keep track of your layouts in the Cookie Jar tracking thread in forum. You just copy and paste the information MissDamsel has provided into a new post. During the month, every time you create a layout for a challenge, come back to your message and edit it with the link to your layout in the gallery.

April 2020 – Challenge Reward Info
Monthly Challenge Rules –

  • You will receive the collab of the month in which you COMPLETE your 10 challenges.
    For Example:
    You do 5 in March, 2 in April and 6 in May – you would get the May collab.
    You do 7 in March and 4 in April – you get the April collab
    You do 10 each month you get EACH Collab!! (BEST DEAL!!)
  • Challenge rewards will be sent out after the 5th of the month
  • All challenges layouts must have at least 50% of GS products – Daily Download and Welcome wagon counts. (See individual challenge rules for specific rules on usage such as Designer Spotlight Challenge)
  • Speed Scraps and Chats DO NOT count towards your challenge rewards (of course your host will usually provide fun goodies for all attending their SS or Chat)
  • Every challenge must have a unique LO. Meaning, you can not use the same LO for more then 1 challenge (the only exception is the Layout Bingo challenge – more on that in the next blog post).
  • You are responsible for tracking your completed challenges, find the monthly tracking thread in the “Cookie Jar“, and follow the guidelines.

(Just in case you missed it above – your challenges add up from month to month until you get to 10.)

Challenge Rewards:
Complete any 10 challenges, and you will receive a brand new designer collab!
Each month we will offer a brand new GingerBread Ladies collab as a reward for completing the GS challenges.

Complete any 10 challenges, during the month of April 2020, and receive this collab for FREE!!

Bloom & Grow: A collaboration from our GingerScraps designers
By Designers: JB Studios, LouCee Creations, Miss Fish Templates, Aimee Harrison

  • 2 Alphas {Uppercase, Lowercase, Numbers & Punctuation}
  • 50 Papers
  • 85 Elements

Come back tomorrow for the a spotlight two of the challenges you can choose from.

Fresh Baked: April 03, 2020

Well, Spring has sprung. Well… mostly. We actually had frost on our windows on Thursday morning, but I think we’re past any chance of really cold weather. This was probably the mildest winter since we moved to North Carolina 20 years ago.

It’s the beginning of April, so you know that means a new Free with Purchase. Get this full kit as a bonus when you spend $10 in the store.

~~Signs of Spring~~

Don’t forget to grab the Survivor Mega Collab. Even if you aren’t playing, this bundle has so many great things in it.

Now let’s get a look at all the new releases.

Remember if you complete 10 challenges, you get this amazing kit!

Fresh Baked: April 1, 2020 & NEW Free With Purchase, Monthly Mix and More

Welcome to April!!! It’s time for Easter and April Showers and a little April Fools (No Joke). More on that below.

Our designers have hit it out of the park with this month’s buffet colors. I’m so in love with these kits.

Let’s see what we have in the new April Buffet!!

Don’t forget to check out the Buffet Bundles, one easy click to add bundles of Buffet goodies to your cart, and an amazing value too!

The designers really ran with the colors this month and many of their themes will mix. Scroll down to the end of they newsletter to see some inspiring layouts by our creative team, created using the April Buffet items.

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great new collab! Signs of Spring!

I love the colors in the April Monthly Mix. Perfect for those spring flower pictures.

Remember I promised you a April Fools (No Joke)? Look what Ginger and our designers are doing for April 1 and 2!!!!

It’s time for the new Daily Download. Before I give you the sneak peek, let me show you March’s full kit. It is beautiful and fun.

Now for April’s Sneak Peek:

Remember, the download is kept up for 5 days, and then it is taken down. If you miss pieces, the kit will be available for purchase on the first day of the following month.

Remember if you complete 10 challenges (yep – only 10), you get a free kit as a reward! Stay tuned to the blog posts this month for some love and spotlight on some of our challenges.

Let’s Bloom and Grow!

Now, as I promised above, let’s get some gorgeous inspiration from our store creative team using the the beautiful kits from our April buffet.  This is just a sampling. You can see more of them in the gallery.

The CT do a beautiful job! Leave them some love in the gallery if you see something you like!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

It All Comes out in the Wash-i

This week’s tutorial is brought to you by Shana Read, whose suggestion for a topic in response to my Facebook plea last night was the one I could get together the quickest. I’m finding I have even less motivation “in these uncertain times” – so tired of that cliché!! – than I usually do and was in need of a good kick in the butt. There were some great suggestions offered up and I’ll be working on them in coming weeks. But first, we’re going to make digital Washi tape look real!

I started out with a cardboard tag, a pretty piece of Washi tape and some heavily-creased cardstock from the GingerBread Ladies‘ collab Entertain Me. I didn’t deliberately choose that kit, although it seems weirdly appropriate. I did, however, deliberately choose the creased cardstock, because it’ll make the tutorial more meaningful.

I added a drop shadow to the tag, setting it at the same angle as the shadows cast by the creases on the cardstock. I like consistency and when I’m shooting for realism, that’s one of the key aspects.

Those of you who are using my custom shadowing method can skip down about 6 steps… For those who need a refresher or who haven’t tried it yet, this is how my custom shadows start. I create a new, blank layer underneath the object I’m going to shadow. The keyboard shortcut for this process is to hold down the CTRL/CMD key and click on the new layer icon, the one that looks like a sheet of paper with the lower left corner curling up.

Still on that blank layer, I CTRL/CMD>click on the layer thumbnail – that tiny picture of the object you can see on the layers panel – to select the edges of the object, tape in this case.

Next, click on the Paint Bucket tool so you can fill the outline of the tape.

The colour I like for shadows is 313131, which I just type into the box I’ve circled below. It’s a medium grey and works pretty well for most purposes.

With that grey as the foreground colour, click anywhere on the blank layer. The outline will fill with grey like magic. To get rid of the marching ants, either click Select>Deselect or just use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD>D. We can’t leave it like this though, because it shows through the tape and looks like junk!

I like to move the shadow to where I’d like it to be before I start tweaking it. So I nudged it over a bit to the left and down, again keeping the same angle of light as seen in the shadows cast by the creases. The only drawback to that is that the tape is semi-transparent and now there’s a white strip at the top. I’ll show you how to take care of that in a minute.

But first I’m going to change the Blend Mode (that button at the top left of the layers panel just under all the icons) to Difference. You’re going to love it!

Can you see the shadow peeking out at the bottom edge of the tape? I know you can see the tag showing through it. I could leave it like that, but that’s not how I’m made. So let’s keep going.

To adjust the shadow layer, I use the Smudge tool. It looks like a hand in a white glove with the index finger stuck out. I tend to use a fairly big brush and a very light touch. I start a bit of a distance from the edge of the shadow and just slightly move the brush toward or away from the object being shadowed, depending on where the light source is, and how much of the object would actually be touching the paper if it was real. In this case, I brought the shadow away from the tape a little where it comes off the tag and onto the cardstock to suggest it’s not stuck down quite as tightly there. Then I pushed it back toward the tape a little where the tape crosses the crease, because it would be adhering more closely here. For this kind of detail, I use a very small brush, still with a light touch. It’s better to go a tiny bit at a time so you know when to stop than to try and do it all in one step and have to start all over.

To eliminate that white strip at the top, I used the same small brush to very carefully nudge out the shadow right to the edge of the tape. There’s a hint of the shadow coming out from under the tape at the top, and that only adds to the realistic look.

So how do we make the tape look even more realistic? Easy! We’ll use the Dodge and Burn tools. Dodging and burning are old tricks used in print photography to spot-improve exposure. Dodging lightens an area while burning darkens. If you have trouble remembering which is which, just think of a burnt stick… it’s black! The edges of my tag are nice and straight so this technique will be simple. I started with the Burn tool and changed the Range to Shadows from the default Midtones.

With the TAPE layer active, and a small brush size selected, I set the centre of the brush tip over the spot where the tape and the paper meet, with the width of the brush on the area on top of the paper. Holding the Shift key down, I clicked at that spot then moved the brush tip down to the spot at the bottom of the tape and clicked again. There’s a very faint darkening of the tape along the edge. As long as I hold down the Shift key, I can go back and forth between the top and the bottom of the tape as many times as necessary to build up a nice sharp edge.

The last pass over the edge is with a wider brush to make the tape look like it has been pressed down firmly with a finger.

Then I switched to the Dodge tool and a large-ish brush.  There will be more light hitting the tape where it sits on top of the tag, so we need to lighten that area just a bit. Using exactly the same steps but with the brush’s width sitting on top of the tag, I Dodged that edge.

Can you see the difference where I’ve already done the D&B? Let’s move over to the crease that runs under the tape. The shadowy area is a bit more pronounced here so with a small brush and the Exposure set to 70%, I Burned the tape where it overlies the shadowed edge of the crease. If I remember correctly, I made 4 passes top to bottom and back up, so a total of 8 clicks.

The section of tape that runs along the domed part of the crease needs to be lightened quite a bit to give the crease back its dimension. I Dodged with a brush sized to just cover the crease edge-to-edge. It took several passes to get it right, but like I said before, building up a little at a time gives you control and you’ll know when to stop.

Once I was happy with the creased area, I moved over to the top edge of the tag. The Dodge tool was active so I did that phase first. There’s a lot more tag covered with tape at this edge so I used a big brush with its width sitting on top of the tag to “elevate” the edge.

Don’t worry about being too precise with positioning the brush tip. If you’re past the end of the spot where the tape and tag touch, it doesn’t matter; the tool won’t do anything to the inactive layers – the paper and tag layers. It’s actually better to go a bit past than it is to stop too short. After I Burned the stuck-down area it looks like real Washi tape and real cardstock. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t once you get the hang of it.

So there you have it, Jan’s technique for adding a shadow to Washi tape. I suggest that if you’re going to do this, turn the visibility of all the other layers off so you can see exactly what you’re doing. Dodge and Burn even the parts that will be hidden by other layers, for the best results. You never know when you might resize an element, or move things around… right?

See you all next week!

Fresh Baked: March 27, 2020

Well, we made it through another week. This was my first week working totally from home and let me say – it’s weird. Add that some of my family forget I’m supposed to be working and want to chat. It appears it will be this way for the next 3 weeks for sure.

You only have a few more days to get this great kit when you spend $10 or more in the GS Store. Read, Know, Learn, Go!

You can still grab this mega collab even if you aren’t playing Survivor. So many fun baking elements in this.

Now it’s time for all the great new goodies from our Designers.

Remember if you complete 10 challenges, you get this amazing kit!

It’s time to Bring On Spring!

Fresh Baked: March 20, 2020

Happy Friday!! We at Gingerscraps hope you are all weathering these tough times safely. Let’s see if we can find you some new goodies to scrap with while you are staying in and trying to stay healthy.

It is time for our 10th season of Scrapping Survivor!! Whoop Whoop! We have a few fun changes this year, you can read all about them in the forum. Are you ready to hear our theme this season … drum roll please … this years theme is *Sugar & Spice Bakery* and we have baked up some really fun challenges and an AMAZING Mega collab!

Here is a link to the official Scrapping Survivor Season 10 sub-forum you can sing up in the “sign ups” thread:

2020 Scrapping Survivor 10 *Sugar & Spice Bakery*

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great new collab! Read, Know, Learn, Go!

Here is the amazing MEGA Collab for this season of Survivor: It is HUGE and you are going to love it!

Now let’s see what fun stuff our designers have for us this week.

Remember if you complete 10 challenges, you get this amazing kit!

It’s time to Bring On Spring!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Jazzing Up a Font

Wow, how much the world has changed in one short week! Our provincial government has declared a state of emergency, although the total number of cases of COVID-19 in our province is still under 100. We’ve been sticking close to home since last Thursday night, which is giving me time to do all the things on my task list. This post is late because I got sidetracked painting the family room… hope the buyer – whoever that ends up being -approves! But let’s get into distraction mode for a bit.

Maybe you’ve seen my layout in the Gallery, the one where my granddaughter is eating her peas with her tongue. This is how I created my title. I started with one of the fonts I linked you up with last week Floral Capitals. Everything I’ve done in this tutorial has been shown to you at least a couple of times before, so if you’re a faithful reader, you might even predict what’s coming next as we work through. There are a lot of steps but I’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you. Whenever I do something that I’m making up as I go along, I like to make some copies of the original layer so I’ll still have one untouched one should I need it. Here I made 2 copies and turned their visibility off.

I analyzed the font’s appearance and had an idea of what I wanted to do. I knew the border would be different so I started off on the bottom layer by Erasing the middle parts of each letter, leaving just the border. Then I made a copy so I could quickly reset if I did something I didn’t like.

Next, I Selected the edges of the floral design by Clicking on the Layer Thumbnail of the lower copy of the original.

Now the Marching Ants come into play.

Now that Elements knew I wanted to work with just the Selected areas of my title, I added a new blank layer between the copy of the border layer and the lower copy of the entire title.

With the new blank layer active, I hit Select>Modify>Expand. I want to adjust the areas selected just a tiny bit.

But I only needed to adjust it a smidge, 1 pixel wide.

Still on that blank layer, I added a Stroke to the Selection. Edit>Stroke (Outline Selected Area).

Again, I went with a skinny stroke, only 2 pixels wide, and I chose this carnation pink, pulled from one of the papers I planned to use for my layout. (Diva-tude from Jumpstart Designs.)

Here you can see the pink a little if you squint.

When I turned off the rest of the layers, now I could see clearly where the Stroke went.

Using the Paint Bucket, I filled in all the letters with the same pink.

Yep, then I Erased the fancy parts, leaving just the pink letters.

I zoomed in quite a lot so I could clean it up to the best of my ability.

To give the letters some more presence I went to the Styles menu and chose Bevels.

I like to use Simple Pillow Emboss, because it’s pretty predictable.

See how it adds weight to the letters, and puts a bit of shading around them too?

The Bevel default is 21 pixels, which is a bit too much for the look I’m after, so I decreased the size down to 7 pixels. Now the letters look like die cuts.

One way to check for stray pixels after you’ve extracted something, as I’ve done with the letters, is to apply a Style or a Shadow. Those stray pixels pop out like zits before a big date. That makes them easier to remove. (If you’re only looking for stray pixels, you can clear the Layer Style when you’re done by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers panel and selecting Clear Layer Style from the menu.)

Okay, mission accomplished. Onward and upward! I turned off all but one of the layers, the lower copy of the original title. I Erased the borders on this layer, since I have plans for the ones I’ve saved down at the bottom of the pile.

As I was getting the screenshots edited I discovered I’d missed one… an important one. I added a black chipboard Layer Style from Ooh La La Scraps’ All Hallows Eve to this layer. It adds just a bit of a flocked look to the outline. I played with the Layer Style settings.

But all I did was increase the Bevel a bit, from 10 pixels to 15. That sharpened the edges just a bit.

Next, using the Rectangular Marquee tool I dragged out a box just inside the outline of the first letter and used the Paint Bucket to Fill it with this dark olive green, also from Diva-tude.

And I did the same with all the rest of the letters.

It’s looking pretty good but it still wasn’t where I wanted it so I added a few more little tweaks.

I turned the border boxes layer back on and took a good look at them.

They needed to be punched up just a tad, so I added a Stroke.

It had to be a narrow one so the border didn’t run into the fancy part. 3 pixels worked. I could have put the Stroke outside the boxes, but then the boxes might have coalesced. Instead I centered the Stroke on the lines.

I found this perfect pink Glitter style in ADB Designs’ Holiday Joy styles kit. So it went on the borders.

OOH! So close!

Last thing I did was to add an epoxy Style (from Mommyish at another store) to just the pink letters.

And then I was happy!

You can use these tips on other detailed fonts, and experimenting is fun! I hope you give it a try!

Designer Spotlight: NMSS

Greetings and salutations! I know you’re all wondering why I’m popping up and it’s not Tuesday. Well, I’m stepping in to bring you the March Designer Spotlight. We’re chatting with the lovely Connie Prince, the South half of North Meets South Studios. Let’s get to know her a bit better, shall we?

J: How long have you been designing?

I began designing digital scrapbooking products in 2004-2005ish, but officially selling in 2006.

J: What made you decide to design?

At the time the offerings were so limited, I was a paper scrapper and want to add unique elements to my layouts which I began to make digitally and print. It didn’t take long to realize I could do the whole thing digitally so much easier!

J: What led you to decide to design together?

Tracy & I developed a friendship early on. I think the progression into forming a brand together just happened. At the time she lived in the northeast and I am of course from the south. We named our brand North Meets South Studios. She’s in the midwest now, but you really can’t take the New Jersey out of a girl so we are sticking with our original name lol.

J: What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

I use Photoshop CC, Illustrator. I also have a scanner that I use pretty often to scan things to extract.

J: Describe your design workplace.

It’s pretty minimalistic. I have a double monitor setup, that’s the most exciting thing about it lol.

J: What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

I enjoy the process, coming up with an idea and creating it. The most rewarding part is seeing someone else use something that I’ve created to preserve their own memories.

J: What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

About A Boy is my current favorite (usually my latest is my favorite lol).

J: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chicken wings, hands down I am obsessed! However, if I could only eat at one restaurant the rest of my life it would be Waffle House.

J: What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?

None of them? lol I’ll watch some when the Olympics are on.

J: What did you want to be when you were small?

I can’t really remember wanting to be anything in particular, I played school a lot so maybe a teacher? I did grow up and get a degree in education, but I didn’t really enjoy teaching very much so I retired early 🙂

J: Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

My phone or computer!

J: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Cameron Diaz, she’s just quirky enough!

J: If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

I would have a bunch, but definitely: If you leave cookies unattended she will eat them!

J: What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

Dolly Parton, she’s a hoot!

J: These two designers are very talented. I hope you’ll give their store a look and that you’ll take part in the Designer Spotlight challenge. And don’t forget to pick up your Daily Download here on the Blog!